Monday, November 4, 2013

A milestone for both of us

When I was pregnant with Brady, I had no idea the impact motherhood would bring. I expected to feel that emotion rush over me once again when Bennett was born and it did but in a different way. It's quite hard to explain but it was a gentle, slow growing peaceful kind of thing that really fits his personality.

During my first pregnancy, I read the right books and talked to the right people but when breastfeeding didn't work out, I was crushed. It was something I never expected to mourn. I hated it and everything it entailed but I was heartbroken I couldn't give him what he needed. I got 'over it' in a way but when I found out I was pregnant with Benny, I wasn't sure what I was going to do. I was scared I would try again only to be set up for failure. I wasn't sure as most of it would really depend on how he was brought into the world and the complications could happen, again. So, most of my pregnancy, I never gave it a second thought. I feared the unknown with a possible VBAC looming in the foreground. I didn't know what the end result would be and it was breaking me down.

Luckily, I was able to have the birth I wanted. I was able to hold him right after he was born and I didn't have to send him to the NICU like I did with Brady. Then, the nurse asked, 'Do you want to try to feed him?' Instinctively, I nursed him for the first time and he latched on quickly. I remember that moment and it was one I wasn't so sure would bring me to where I am almost seventeen months later.

We made it an entire year and while we did supplement a few bottles here and there but mostly, it was all me. I was so very protective of this blooming relationship in the beginning but then again, he wasn't so keen on being separated from me either. It was a perfect fit at the time. When he gained weight, I was happy but he was still so very tiny and I took it so very personal. After I had asked the doctor the first time, I knew not to ask it again at his next visit but I did. Below the five percentile.  I felt ridiculously guilty. As if it was my fault he was only in the fourth percentile. Every visit, I'd ask again and then left his appointment feeling defeated. His doctor was never concerned but it didn't matter. I grew very defensive about it but as our relationship grew so did my own confidence.

When I went back to work, I was sure it was the end of it all. I slowly prepared myself for the beginning to the end but it never came--not to say that we didn't have our moments and I swear I counted ounces in my sleep but we persevered with a lot of hard work. I tried fenugreek, Mother's milk plus, teas and all kinds of methods and tricks. Finally, once I chilled the heck out, it was fine. He didn't starve and I just kept pumping. Looking back, I'm pretty sure I had ample supply but I just needed to figure out a method to pumping and relax. In fact, I think at one point, I had an oversupply that my anxiety created in those attempts.

I kept telling myself that if it ended, it would be ok. We made it this far. I set small goals. First it was a month, then 3, then 6, then a year. With each milestone, I noticed I became more attached to this relationship of ours and I protected it as I did him. There were times I wanted to burn my pump or I needed a moment to myself but once I sat down, I immediately felt myself calm down. I remember one night, I was having a hard time falling asleep, which hardly ever happens. Then, the 'omg, I'm so hungry' scream echoed down the hall.' I figured it was a good thing I was already up, right? He dozed quickly in the crook of my arms and I tiptoed back to bed. Within minutes, I was fast asleep. The more I thought about it, in a way, it helped me. In the crazed day to day of life, I knew that I had a few moments where it was just the two of us. It was like time almost stopped. It was just him and I and that look of contentment. For now, I'm going to hold onto these last few moments for I know they are fleeting.

In April, he had to have surgery. I was able to nurse him as soon as he was awake and I think it was what soothed him afterwards. Last month, he had to have another and after waking from anesthesia, he cried for 20 minutes. I couldn't do anything that would soothe him and it was the worst feeling. Finally, after trying a few times, he looked up at me with those big eyes and latched on. He just sat there and I felt his entire body relax slowly. It was a moment I was so grateful for and I think he was waiting to wean for that moment. We still have one short moment before bed each night and I know the real end is coming soon. While I'm to the point where I'm getting ready, it's bittersweet.

In a little over a week, he'll be 17 months old. Again, I know the end is coming soon and with that, I think with all the sadness, guilt and heartache that I felt with Brady truly made me so much more grateful for each moment. I know I'll be sad to let go of something so important but in my own heart, I know it's time. I know it's nourished my soul as much as it's nourished his growing body.

I know in ten years or even twenty, they won't remember or care how they were fed. In fact, both of my kids were fed and that's all that matters but I'll have these moments that I will hold onto and for that, I will always be grateful.

Benny {12 months}

Dear Benny,
Happy Birthday, my sweet, sweet boy. Looking back at this year, I can only tell you one thing. There is no one word, no one way to explain the beauty and well, oddly enough, the peace that you have so perfectly brought into our lives. I was driving to work the other day and just thinking about you and your silly expressions brought tears to my eyes. It's amazing to me how you so easily fit into our lives. I can hardly remember life without you. Being a parent of two isn't easy by any means but you make it feel that way (at times.)

I find myself thinking about how fast time has flown and more so now that you are turning one. It was only just a short year ago that I was nervously anticipating your arrival and wondering how our lives would change. I knew that you would come into this world and I would fall head over heels with you and I did, boy did I!!

 I remember those last few months before you came, I savored my last moments being a mom to the only one who I've known how to be a mom to. I worried that I wouldn't know how to be a mom to you but once you were put into my arms, all those fears slipped away.

I was scared of how it would impact your brother and I find myself a bit aloof as I watch you two wrestle around and giggle with pure delight. As I see the way you look at him, which you have done since you were so very tiny. I see an instinctive protectiveness in his eyes and the pure, raw and unconditional love in his heart that was put there for you and you alone.

 You are so incredibly silly and so serious at the same time. 

You were so tiny and yet full of so much strength that I see in you daily. There was a Shakespeare quote , "Though she is small, she is fierce.' and it reminded me of you. You are so brave and I think you were put here on earth to remind me of the beauty and grace in life.

You are such a sweet and lovable soul. Giving hugs and love to only those you prove worthy. You may be a bit slow to warm up but once you do, you never stop smiling at them. Cuddling is one of your favorite things to do and I soak up each of those moments.

 I remember the sadness I felt as Brady turned one but what I didn't know at the time was how amazing each day past one came to be. While I'm saddened to watch you grow out of infancy and into toddler-hood I am anticipating each moment with you.

You are my a beautiful soul so full of love and life. I look forward to each moment I'm blessed to share with you.

(Lots of posts I'm finally posting!)


Dear Brady,

Last week, Sunday to be exact, you turned four. FOUR. 

Let's process that for a bit. 


I know. It seems like yesterday, I was rocking you in my arms, wondering how I could love someone so   little so very much. Seems like yesterday I was trying to figure out why you were not sleeping or laughing at your busy, curious, toddler antics. I  have watched you grow from a colicky baby, to a curious toddler and into an inquisitive, sensitive, loving child. A person. 

 I sometimes see curiosity brewing that grows into a bit of anxiety about unknown and new things. We talk about things and it's just like you needed to know HOW it would work or what it looks like. Before a trip for Florida, you told me you didn't want to go. You were afraid of the water. Actually, you had woken me up at 6 am to tell me this. We looked at pictures of the beach and it calmed your fears. Your growing need for knowledge amazes me and I know I will see it blossom into something big one day. 

You're curious nature cracks me up too. You've asked me lately, "why do we have butts.' or 'why do we have belly buttons' and you listen so intently to the answers we try come up with. 

You have fears that are a bit cute, frustrating and comical at the same time but I know those fears are real to you. Just remember, your fears are bigger than reality and you have many guardian angels watching over you. Also, I'm pretty sure there will never be any bears, coyotes or gorillas in your bedroom.

You continue to learn new things every, single day. Sometimes, you'll say something and I'm just astonished. Then, there are times, I"m just blown away. 

Last week, we were talking about your special trip with Daddy to the beach (to visit Aunt Kim.) I told you to say bye to Benny because he had to go to the sitter's while we take you  and Daddy to the airport. You looked over at him, hugged him and said, "I'm so sorry I can't go with you to Rachel's, Benny! I love you and I will miss you a lot! ' 

Like I said, blown away. Moments like those, my love, I see them so often with your brother. There is something so beautifully special between you two and it's the best thing I could ever witness. You have fallen into this big brother role like you were always meant to be in it. A few weeks ago at the park, I watched as you protectively watched over him as he took steps up a little too high. My heart swelled to an extent I never knew existed and I knew at that moment, you would do anything for him. You are amazing and I hope you never forget how great you are.I know Bennett looks up to you and loves you. 

You started school this year and have flourished in every, single way. You love learning. You love going to school and seeing all your friends. You love all the teachers and they adore you. You are such a social butterfly. A true social butterfly. You have a lot of new friends at school and one kid comes up to me often to tell me how much he adores you.  You see, you have a way with people. You win them over with ease and find a way into their hearts with one quick dimply smile. 

You can count, know all your letters and letters. You've developed such a love for those things this year. You want to know what everything starts with and sound things out. You love to read but have the biggest imagination. Pretending is the one of your favorite things. I love to listen to you play and it's one of the things I listen for purposefully. 

You have this sensitive side too. It's a side I don't want to be faded or tarnished with age but I want to protect it as long as I can. Don't forget that the best you that you can be is you. Always remember, you are enough and you are worth every thing good in this world. 

It still finds it hard to believe you are four.  Four is a big deal, dude. Three was still teetering between toddler hood and kid status and four is just SO big. Heck, at your 4 year old well visit appointment, you were between 77-79 percentile for height/weight so there is proof you are SO big! 

I know three had some difficult moments but the ones I think we'll remember are the amazing ones. You will always be my spirited one. The one who always finds a reason for everything. 

Happy 4th birthday, buddy. Happy Birthday to the kiddo who is full of energy and never stops moving but loves to hold your hand and cuddle. To the kid who pushes all my buttons but pulls at my heart. To the kid who asks us, "why do we have butts?' To the kid who will never be the best at sleeping but is by far, the best big brother. To the kid who finds happiness and joy in everything. We love yo in the morning and in the afternoon. We love you in the evening and underneath the moon!